Seems I'm riding the bestseller bandwagon of late but this is another title that I absolutely loved and you must read. It is an unusual book for many reasons but it is a great story, well told.
The Book Thief is Liesl Meminger, a young girl we meet as she is about to be adopted by the Hubermans, kindly Hans and flinty Rosa. Liesl's younger brother, who was to be adopted with her, has died on the way and she is haunted by this.
The setting is Molching, a small German town outside of Munich. It is the late 1930's and Hitler is gaining ground.
Zusak creates characters that are rich and deep and realistic. How I loved Hans and hated Rosa (initially), how I feared for Max, how I hurt for Rudy, how I came to admire Death. Binding them all together, our unlikely heroine, The Book Thief. As Liesl learns, and we as readers have always known, "Words are Life".
Another roaring success by the author is to have Death narrate the book. I loved him--the clarity and brevity of his views of humankind, his remarkable wit and keen perception in statements like, "It kills me sometimes how people die" and "I am haunted by humans". When my time comes, I hope this Death comes for me. He seems such a decent sort.
At 550 pages, even aimed at the YA market, it is an ambitious book but you will become absorbed by it's many stories: a young girl finding a new family, righteous Gentiles who hide a Jew in the basement, the rising tide of Fascism, endurance, hope, hatred, beauty, and sadness.
A movie based on the book will come out later this week. As always, it will lead people back to the book. I envy them.
Trailer for the movie